Man jailed for driving at garda after burglary

By Sonya McLean

A man previously jailed for knocking down and killing two French tourists has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for driving at a garda while trying to escape arrest for burglary.

John Cash (37) was jailed for eight years in 2008 after he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of friends Martine Talon (54) and Martine Liotard (53) on the Kylemore Road in Dublin on May 16, 2007.

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The court heard during that sentence hearing, before the late Judge Katherine Delahunt, that Cash had drank 14 cans of cider, a bottle of whiskey and taken Prozac tablets before driving the car. He had been banned for driving for 20 years the previous year after he was convicted of dangerous driving.

Cash, of North Circular Road, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at Aldi, Old Lucan Road, Palmerstown Lower and dangerous driving on December 3, 2017. He has 30 additional previous convictions which were all dealt with in the District Court and he was disqualified from driving at the time.

Garda Barry O’Shea told Eoghan Cole BL, prosecuting, that he was alerted to the fact that a burglary was in progress at Aldi when he saw Cash outside the premises. Cash ran towards his own car when he spotted the patrol car.

Gda O’Shea approached him and drew his baton. Cash revved the engine of his vehicle and the garda smashed the windscreen with the baton.

Cash then drove the car directly at Garda O’Shea causing him to jump out of the way to avoid getting injured.

He then drove into Garda O’Shea’s patrol car, moving the vehicle out of his way, to facilitate his getaway.

Judge Martin Nolan described it as a “callous act”. He said had Cash just burgled the premises and not driven at the garda he would have given “a substantially less sentence”.

“In his attempt to escape he put a garda in danger,” Judge Nolan said before he commented that Cash had behaved in this way “despite the fact that he had previously pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of two people”.

He acknowledged that Cash co-operated with the garda investigation, made admissions and was remorseful for his behaviour.

Judge Nolan accepted that Cash had a difficult mental history and addictions to both drugs and alcohol.

He disqualified Cash from driving for four years and sentenced him to three-and-a-half years in prison.

Garda O’Shea said a colleague later arrested Cash, following a brief chase, after the burglar lost control of his own vehicle while attempting to turn into nearby Palmerstown village.

Cash said in interview that he had little recollection of the burglary but accepted he was at the premises and that he had driven his car in that manner.

He said his role was to keep watch outside the premises and Garda O’Shea confirmed that CCTV footage from the store showed this was the case.

He said Cash and an accomplice, who has never been caught, used a car jack and a hammer to smash a window in the shop before the other man entered the premises.

David Staunton BL, defending, said his client acknowledged that he was wrong and was very regretful.

He said he had been out of prison since 2014 and submitted to the judge that he was “not a person beyond reform.”

“He is acutely aware of his behaviour and wishes to amend his ways,” counsel submitted.

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